AP NEWS

New Mexico governor withholds 2020 endorsement

November 6, 2019 GMT
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham talks to experts in rural economic development in Santa Fe, N.M., on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, at an event organized by the Western Governors' Association. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, is withholding any endorsement in her party's presidential primary race. The former congresswoman says she is more interested in prescription drug reform to lower consumer costs that a comprehensive health care overhaul and believes in greater tax parity between the wealthy and middle class. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham talks to experts in rural economic development in Santa Fe, N.M., on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, at an event organized by the Western Governors' Association. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, is withholding any endorsement in her party's presidential primary race. The former congresswoman says she is more interested in prescription drug reform to lower consumer costs that a comprehensive health care overhaul and believes in greater tax parity between the wealthy and middle class. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s Democratic governor is staying away from candidate endorsements as her party decides on a nominee to confront President Donald Trump in 2020.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declined Tuesday to pick a preferred candidate for the Democratic nomination, speaking to reporters at a workshop by the Western Governors’ Association on rural economic development.

Lujan Grisham pledged to “robustly” support the party’s eventual nominee. On issues of taxation and health-care finance that are roiling the presidential primary race, the governor and former congresswoman said she supports greater tax parity between the ultra-wealthy and middle class and expressed a strong interest in prescription drug reforms aimed at lowering consumer costs.

Health care reform proposals have created a stark policy divide among Democratic candidates for president. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both back “Medicare for All” plans, while more moderate candidates like former Vice President Joseph Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg say the country isn’t ready to do away with private insurance.

Lujan Grisham said that “Medicare-for-all is something I appreciate every Democrat debating. ... I think single-payer, universal care ideas have to be part of the solution.”

New Mexico holds its presidential primary on June 2. Hillary Clinton won New Mexico’s Democratic primary in 2018 and won the state general election by 8 percentage points.

Ahead of the 2020 primary, Warren has proposed a wealth tax on the ultra-rich that goes beyond traditional taxes on income and investment gains.

Without endorsing that idea, Lujan Grisham said that “it doesn’t make sense to me that the upper 1% pays low taxes or no taxes.” The governor signed legislation this year that raises state income tax rates on top earners and offers a larger family tax credit.

Regarding upcoming Congressional impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, Lujan Grisham applauded Congress for assert its oversight role in public proceedings, but she also deferred judgment on Trump.

“Do I think that the evidence will bear out unequivocally that there are impeachable offenses? My gut says that that will be the case, but I don’t know,” she said. “If the House impeaches, will the Senate have a trial a meaningful trial? I can’t answer that.”

Her hope is “that somehow the country gets to a place where we trust each other more, where it’s less partisan and less hateful and angry,” Lujan Grisham said.